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Not too long ago I finally got around to seeing this film, I'd heard so
much about it that I had to see it. After seeing it the first time I
thought it was good, but I have to say that I liked it even more on my
second viewing. The film is absolutely wonderful! The story is very
amusing and keeps you interested in the characters from start to
I literally couldn't wait to see what would happen in the next scene. This is one of those movies that goes by very quickly. I think that's a sign of a good movie, when you just can't believe that you're already an hour or so into the movie. The story really flows nicely from scene to scene.
The cast is great in the film as well. Billy Crystal pulls off one of his best performances, and has a slew of great jokes throughout the film. Meg Ryan looks as beautiful as ever and has such a cute way about her. Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher definitely deserve a great deal of credit too, they both did superb jobs as well. Director Rob Reiner did a great job with the film, keep up the good work Rob.
If you're into romantic comedies, then you definitely should see this film. Even if you aren't really into the whole romantic part of it, the comedy is great and worth seeing. I would most definitely recommend seeing this film.
I hope you like it. Thanks for reading,
This movie grows like a good wine. I really didn't get it when it was
released; I avoided it like the plague. But people have a curious tendency
to mature and change their POVs with time, and so was it with me. This
opened me up to a lot of things - believe it or not, I didn't get the
Me' sequence at first: I was lost, and admit it. But I am not lost now,
this movie is partly responsible.
Meg might be the reason guys want to see this movie, again and again, but after a while you begin to appreciate the contribution Crystal made to the film. The dialogue has his name all over it. The dialogue in this film is at times simply amazing - check the memorable quotes here if you've seen the movie and have forgot.
I would not pick this movie out of a barrel as most likely to be so influential, but it's a fact that it is, and rightfully so. Great support from Kirby and Fisher. Today it's Hanks and Ryan who are paired, thanks undoubtedly to Sleepless in Seattle, but one wonders why no one has tried to get Crystal and Ryan back together again. They're fantastic.
This is one of the all-time best movies ever made. All-time 10? Or 20? or 1000? I don't know; it's just one of the best - it has that quality about it. Keeper.
I love romantic comedies, and this may be my all-time favorite. Nora Ephron's writing is sharp and VERY funny, and the perfect cast delivers the dialogue with flawless timing. I own it on DVD, and will almost invariably turn to it for at least a couple of minutes when I see it in the TV schedule. There are so many priceless moments that I can't pick out one to highlight; most of them are subtler and funnier than the famous Simulated Orgasm scene. Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher are perfect in their supporting roles, and Rob Reiner's direction couldn't be better. I'm afraid that I'm doing nothing but gushing in this review, but great is great, and it's hard to say anything else.
I am no expert on the genre, but I'd have to say "When Harry met Sally" is,
besides the plethora of truly wonderful films made by Woody Allen, the
wittiest and most funny romantic comdedy waiting for you out there in video
world. I'd only wished I'd seen the film sooner because this seems like that
perfect film for discussion with a circle of good friends at Pizzaria Uno.
The movie came out in 1989, but for some reason, I think this is one even
our kids may like.
Like all good films coming from the genere, this film thrives most on its witty dialgue and cleverness in not "sentimnetalizing" it too much. In other words, there is that perfect equilibrium between scenes of sheer poignancy and scenes of brutal comic relief. The thespians involved, of course, have a lot to do with the film's success and overall appeal. Ryan and Crystal are perfect for the roles assigned, each one of them bringing their charisma and fresh breath of life to the screen. Crystal fits snugly into that character we find all too obnoxious but can't help but loving and Ryan, well, she is as adorable as always.
The issue the film tackles is an important one, I think. It asks us a question of universal importance, namely, can women and men ever be friends?. I'll leave that for you and your friends to talk about at Pizzaria Uno. For now, I'll just say that with heaps of quirky, funny dialogue, a taut script from Nora Ephron, and clean directing form Reiner, "When Harry met Sally" is a highly enjoyable film that unsurprisingly has held strong a decade after its inception.
Can men and women ever be merely friends, without the temptation of sex
rearing its ugly head? This is the question that this movie so famously
posed - and so glibly answered - almost fifteen years ago. As it follows the
progression of Harry and Sally - a pair of charming, if neurotic,
Manhattanites - from enemies to confidants to lovers, it seems to smugly
relish the fact that it has proven its point: men and women can never just
"be friends" - sex is always the bond that unites them. But the film is so
manipulative, so dogged in its pursuit of this goal, that it never appears
an alternative position was ever considered. So, as philosophy, chalk When
Harry Met Sally up to around zilch.
Now, disregard the above paragraph. Because When Harry Met Sally makes up for its slights to credibility and lack of rigorous thought by being easily the funniest movie of its year (1989). This humor flows mainly from the beautifully crafted scenes and dialogue; indeed, each scene is a dialogue set piece (and could be transferred to the stage quite easily - surprising no one's ever done it, actually), which flows with the firm and confident rapidity of a 20th century Shaw or Oscar Wilde. Of course, this approach has its downside, too: mainly that the lead characters seem less and less like real people and more like tools for the brilliant lines and conceits of the screenwriter (Nora Ephron - never better; in fact, never even remotely close ever again). This may have something to do with the film's inability to seem completely real or true to human nature as it actually plays out - but with lines like these, who's complaining?
For, what is great about the movie is not its originality (it steals from all over, especially Woody Allen movies, and the few ideas it can truly call its own are, as I've said, not particularly bright or well-thought out), but its ability to hone in on stereotypes of character and situation and offer pithy and hilarious precis of the male-female condition through the witty banter and interaction of its characters. As such, the film is less like a conventional movie and more like a stand-up routine dealing with life and love in the Big City: it is to be judged not by its content, but by the dexterity of its put-ons and one-liners. (It is not surprising, for example, that several of its set-pieces and comic notions were revisited just a few years later, and in much the same manner, on "Seinfeld".) In that regard, it succeeds flawlessly.
Just think of all the conventions it gets in, and skewers: the one-track mind male (Harry); the "sensitive" and practical female, repulsed yet intrigued by said male (Sally); the emotionally unsettled mistress playing the field (Carrie Fisher, who keeps an index card file of "available" men); the live-ins who can't "commit" (Sally and her ex-boyfriend); women's concern with middle age and their biological clock ("I'm gonna be 40," weeps Sally. "When?" asks Harry. "Someday."); the male's tendency to skip out after making love; the horror and unpredictability of blind dates; and, in a scene which is almost passe to mention anymore, women's ability to fake orgasm. The way this film jumps from one familiar convention to another would be embarrassing if it weren't for the fact that each one is handled with such economy, humor and grace.
Billy Crystal acquits himself well as Harry - predictably, perhaps, as it's a part tailor made for a standup comedian. Still, seeing him in this after years of half-baked movies and fawning Oscar presentations, it's a revelation how glib and unlikable he can allow himself to be . . . and *still* be likable. Yo, Billy, if you're listening out there: try incorporating some of Harry's darker shadings and more egocentric traits into your future roles; it gives you a more complete palette to work from and keeps you from being too generic and schticky. And your charm and humor will always shine through anyway.
If Billy needs to edge a little bit closer back to Harry, though, Meg Ryan needs to get Sally completely out of her system. This role, deservedly, made her a star - but she has tried to go back to this particular well once too many times, and it's become way too familiar: you know, the adorable, bright-eyed bit - mentally disheveled, prissy around the edges with just a wisp of klutziness, all topped by that cute, mega-watt smile. It has become now the "Meg Ryan" character, but back when Sally came along it was still fresh, and it was tied to a particular personality. Ryan gives Sally a shy-cum-toughness as well as a moody, slightly cynical and self-deprecating wit that is just totally right. She and Crystal play off each other like two old pros, and they weave in and out of some charming and hilarious verbal music.
It's funny, but I just recently saw this movie on a Saturday afternoon television marathon of "Romantic Weepies" - and it struck me as an odd designation, because this movie is anything but a weeper. It takes a clear-eyed, almost cynical view of love and companionship, and creates around it a charming tapestry of bracing wit and crunching dialogue. So save the violins and the handkerchiefs for romantic comedies less sure on their feet - whose deficiency in wit must be made up for by a surfeit of melodrama and manipulation. This movie is manipulative too, of course, but its manipulation is almost beside the point. It's the laughs along the way we remember here, not the big kiss or the grand embrace. That Harry and Sally were "meant" for each other and that the film "proves" it is much less important than the fact that Sally does one hell of a great orgasm.
Waiter, I'll have what they're having . . .
Can you beat some of the lines in this film? As a guy, which I am, I identified with Harry's lines so much, and you can't help but side with him. The chemistry between the two actors, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan is superb, and you believe in them when they talk, you feel for them when they look at each other. Even the friends are well casted, Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby. It's such relaxed acting and filming that you do nothing but watch these people fall in love, and pretty soon you feel like you're involved as well. With a fantastic soundtrack, direction, script and acting, it's a great film.
This movie is not just your average chick flick tearjerker romance movie.
I'm sure that a lot of guys can relate to this movie as well.
First of all, there are some hilarious lines in this movie that will appeal to men and women. Second, the orgasm scene in the restaurant has got to be one of the funniest scenes in movie history. And finally, the guys will be cheering on Billy Crystal, as he makes love to a LOT of women in this movie. I really enjoyed this movie, and I'm pretty sure that I am a guy (I'll check later).
Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan will remind everyone of their everyday lives in this true-to-life (and very funny) movie. So guys, don't reject "When Harry Met Sally..." just because women cried at it. And girls, if you see this movie, you will probably want to see it another 50 times.
Aside from freer language and more explicitly sexual humour, When Harry met Sally is a very traditional romantic comedy, very much in the mould established in 1934 by It Happened One Night. Two very different but evenly-matched people are thrown together by circumstance. They are initially hostile to one another, but over the course of the film, this hostility turns to love as their personalities are softened by exposure to their opposites. Indeed, the central traits of Harry and Sally correspond very directly to those of Peter and Ellen in IHON - he worldly-wise and cynical, she spoiled and certain of what's what. Neither of them, it turns out, is as right or as self-confidant as they believe. What's very modern about WHMS is its attitude to long-term relationships. It's no longer enough for the couple simply to fall in love and live happily ever after. They must have a full and real understanding of exactly what, or who, they're letting themselves in for. They must also be sexually compatible (hence the importance of their having slept with one another before they finally get together). Within this framework of traditional romance in an unromantic world, WHMS is almost perfect. Structurally, there are no gaps or implausibilities. Even the central coincidence of these people running into each other under these circumstances is answered. The short but affecting intermissions of successful old couples describing their relationships are not only crucial to the pacing of the film, they also make the point that Harry and Sally are just another couple with an unusual and interesting story. There's an element of luck and coincidence in every successful relationship. The effectiveness of the film's structure is perhaps best highlighted by the soundtrack. There's a perfectly selected Louis Armstrong track for every phase of their relationship - the soundtrack not only complements the mood of the film, it comments on the action. The acting is superb, with the two main protagonists as well as their two foils (Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher) all giving career-best comic performances. Without such fantastic performances, it's very possible that the film could have failed: these are essentially self-indulgent people, that we sympathise with them and recognise them is in great measure down to the stars. Finally, the script is fantastic. Of course nobody really speaks like that, but like all great scripts it distills emotions and points of view into a few lines. And it's funny. The one-liners are still sharp and amusing on the twentieth viewing, and the set-pieces are beautifully realised (the orgasm scene is only the most famous - check out Harry's olympic sex-dream speech - "Must have been the dismount" - or the "I'm through making a schmuck out of myself" phone call). All this, and a dinner party talking point about male and female relationships. Can we ever be just friends? Not even with an ugly girl? "Nah, you pretty much want to nail them too."
This is Billy Crystal's show. He has an understated, ordinary, humble
screen presence. It's not the case that every single line HAS to be funny
in order for us to like him - with Crystal, a joke can fall flat and somehow
it doesn't make him personally look bad. But here every line IS funny, so
he has charm to burn.
I know people like Meg Ryan - I guess I do, too, in this particular film - and I know that there are people who find her `orgasm' scene amusing, but Sally is really just someone for Harry to meet and ultimately fall in love with. She's completely clueless. Most of the jokes are at her expense rather than his. The genuine wit, the power of observation, the theoretical insight, all lie with Harry. Is this a problem? Not in the least. Unlike most romantic comedies this is not some kind of duel - it's the more realistic study of many, many separate encounters.
Also unlike most romantic comedies, this one is funny. I think I mentioned that.
The film benefits from its second rank support: good performances by Carrie Fischer and that guy whose name doesn't matter, locations someone actually went to some trouble to look for, and a song-score that is doesn't intrude and hit us repeatedly over the head. Allegedly `When Harry Met Sally' has been imitated by later productions, but I can't think of a case where the imitation is accurate enough to even be recognisable.
"When Harry Met Sally" may not at first seem to be the kind of film that remains classic and timeless. In this very cute exploration of an age-old question: "Can men and women truly just be friends?," Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan play the kind of characters we have come to love to see them play. No surprises there as they skillfully banter back and forth between adorable, hysterical and morose as the plot rolls on. But upon closer inspection, this film is actually full of nice surprises, including its durability. Watch carefully and you will find one of the best examples of the way an excellent script can propel the plot, character development and pacing of a film perfectly from start to finish. Many lines may seem to be merely entertaining one-liners, but they also serve these other purposes simultaneously. This is a well crafted and well acted script. Even the most dated aspect of the film, the intentional focus on clothing, hair and makeup styles as they change throughout the decades, has taken an unexpected poignancy now that the styles we may remember as current at the time have come to be old-fashioned themselves. The end result is that "When Harry Met Sally" speaks to us if we remember the times portrayed in the film or not. We're still asking questions about men and women and friendship, and films such as this still help us answer them.
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